ICQ Rumors 81 - 90
These warnings never end, I've covered them quite a few times on this site, but it's worth repeating a few things. First, the UINs rarely belong to evil hackers sending viruses, mostly they belong to innocent people who are the victims of some creep's malicious rumor. That alone is enough reason not to forward them. But even if the person being warned about is guilty as charged, what's stopping them from getting a new UIN and continuing to send viruses? The answer is: nothing, it takes about five minutes to get a new ICQ account and it's free. So sending warnings about individuals is a total waste of time. Consider this analogy: which is the better way to protect your home, by making a list of every known burglar or putting a lock on your door? In this case the lock is simply not running files that get sent through ICQ or e-mail. Besides, just having someone on your contact list is not a threat, they can't do anything to you unless you accept and run a file from them.
For additional info about viruses and executable files, please see The Importance of File Extensions. (R90)
So now the U.S. Government is going to tax ICQ messages? How are they going to do this, by installing a postage meter on every computer in the world? Not likely. This rumor is a variation of the e-mail hoax where the U.S. Postal Service was going to start charging ISPs for every e-mail that was sent through them. Rest assured that they have no such plan, here's an excerpt from the official USP statment:
"A completely false rumor concerning the U.S. Postal Service is being circulated over the Internet via e-mail."
"The e-mail message claims that a 'Congressman Schnell' has introduced 'Bill 602P' to allow the federal government to impose a 5-cent surcharge on each e-mail message delivered over the Internet. The money would be collected by Internet Service Providers and then turned over to the Postal Service."
"No such proposed legislation exists. In fact, no 'Congressman Schnell' exists." (R89)
We could get only 10 forwards and they still cannot do it because Microsoft doesn't own ICQ... AOL does and they aren't charging for it. This is like saying that Mercedes is going to raise the price of Ford Broncos, how can you charge for something you don't make? Microsoft has their own MSN Messenger Service, which is also free. And knowing Microsoft, if they ever decided to start charging for THEIR service, a million (or 10 million) forwarded messages wouldn't make a bit of difference. What they would probably do is set-up a 976 number that charged $5/minute where you would hear a ten minute recorded message followed by an chance to leave your own message, which no one would ever hear. (R88)
Forget about the "golden version"... forward MY URL and you'll get the deluxe PLATINUM VERSION! Hurry! This offer won't last long! Forward it now and get a FREE BONUS: a little barking dog will run across your screen and pee on the ICQ flower, which will then change colors! Woo hoo! How can you resist such an offer? Don't read any further until you've forwarded my URL!
Well, did you do it? I have a little bit of disappointing news for you... you're not going to automatically get anything. Sowwy. Had you going there for a second, didn't I? There is no "golden version" of ICQ and if someone offered you one I'd suggest turning them down (it may not be ICQ at all but something malicious instead). If you want the latest version of ICQ the only way you're going to get it is to go download it for yourself. Forwarding a message does just that, it forwards a message, nothing more, nothing less. (R87)
This will only work if your nickname is "SUCKER!!!" *g* Okay, the truth is you could send this "URL" to 30 million people and you'll still hear the "uh-oh" sound.. probably quite often as people write back to ask you to stop sending them useless garbage. If you would really like to change the sounds your ICQ makes, try installing one of the alternative sound schemes provided by ICQ Inc. (R86)
*sniff sniff* Do you smell something? *sniff* I do believe that is the unmistakable stench of SPAM being passed off as an "advisory." The page the URL links to appears to be a legitimate warning to ICQ users about the Happy99 and Melissa trojans and begins by urging everyone to forward the page to other ICQ users. It's the next line that raised my eyebrow: "ICQ users have confirmed that variants of two "Trojan Horse" viruses, Happy99 and Melissa, are now being distributed via the ICQ file transfer and email protocols." Or really? New variants that are spread via ICQ? Confirmed by what ICQ users? I've looked everywhere and can't find a single reference to any new variants of Happy or Melissa. For the record, Happy is spread via a file called happy99.exe which after being run will send a copy of itself to each person you send an e-mail to (only once per e-mail addy) or as an attachment to Usenet posts. The only way it can spread through ICQ is if someone intentionally sends the happy99.exe file and the person receiving it then runs the program. At that point it will start attaching itself to e-mails and Usenet posts, not ICQ messages. Melissa is a Word Document macro virus which like Happy has no particular significance to ICQ users. That's why I feel the real purpose of this "advisory" page is to use scare tactics to promote the URL redirect service that hosts the page. I agree with their advice about not running happy.exe or happy99.exe if you receive it as a file transfer (or more likely as an e-mail attachment). And you should also be careful with Word doc files. But this isn't really an ICQ related issue and the deceptive way they wrote their advisory seems intended to scare people into spreading their URL, which in turn advertises their service. Is this really a practice we want to see become common with ICQ? In my opinion, it's just another form of spam. (R85)
Viruses don't "attack" though ICQ. Viruses spread when an infected file is run, it makes no difference how you receive the file, be it ICQ, an e-mail attachment, a download from a website or a diskette. If the file is infected AND YOU RUN IT then the virus will spread to other files on your system. When the virus is triggered (in this case, by detecting a "detonation date"), it will execute its payload, which could be anything from a harmless joke to damaging files necessary to the functioning of your system. The virus doesn't care whether you run ICQ or not, if you have been infected then it is going to do its dirty work. If it infected other files on your hard drive, such as that cute little greeting card you like to send to your friends, then they are also going to have the same problem. Conclusion: don't fear ICQ on the 26th or any other day, fear files that have been indiscriminately passed around from person to person, because that is how a virus is most likely to "attack" you. (R84)
Well now, that rumor was certainly short and stupid. Saying that "all" the files from Download.com are infected is much like saying all the files on the net are infected. Why? Because many of the files you download from Download.com are located on remote servers usually belonging to the company or individual who developed the software. For example, if you want to download the latest version of ICQ "from" Download.com, you can choose get it from their server or CDROM.com, SimTel or AOL. Other programs are only available from the original developer, which means it is their responsibility to ensure the software is uninfected. The bottom line is, because the files are distributed over many different servers, it is nearly impossible for all the files to become infected with a virus. (R83)
Send this to all your "conntacts" and it may be the last time you hear from them.
More "good advice" about a potentially non-existant threat. At least the "cure" this time won't trash your ICQ, and in fact if you were to apply it to every virus you would be completely safe. I say that because there is at least one virus set to detonate on practically every day of the year, so if you never turn on your computer nothing bad can ever happen. (R81)
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